Making improvements to your home can be a fun and exciting process. Whether it’s a top to bottom remodel, a kitchen revamp or taking on that dated guest bathroom, it is easy to go over budget. With the right planning, you can get exactly what you want, keep it stress-free and avoid breaking the bank.
#1: Plan Carefully
Spend some serious time thinking about what you really want in your renovation. Not only will careful planning help you to get more accurate quotes, but it will also make you less likely to completely change direction mid-project, possibly increasing your remodeling costs. If you just moved into a home, it might be wise to wait to do renovations until you see how you really use your space and can decide what changes will be most beneficial. Search the web for inspiration, visit friends’ homes, and talk to architects or designers to piece together exactly what you want.
#2: Get Multiple Bids From Reputable Builders
If you have an accurate idea of what your renovation will cost, staying on a budget will be that much easier. It is best to get estimates from at least 3 experienced contractors in your area. Be as specific as you can about the details of your project. This will help your contractors to give you more exact prices.
You know the old adage: you pay for what you get. Don’t just choose your contractor based on who comes in with the lowest bid. Unfortunately, there are dishonest or inexperienced contractors out there who leave projects unfinished, so do your research before hiring someone. If an estimate sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Read reviews online and ask friends for recommendations. Go to neighbors’ houses to see the work their contractors have done. A professional who comes highly recommended by someone you trust is more likely to be able to accomplish your goals within the estimated budget.
#3: Ask Yourself, “How Many Renovations Can I Afford?”
This question deserves an honest answer! Once you have an idea of what your renovations will cost, sit down and do some serious number crunching. It is important to have a realistic idea of what you can afford so you don’t get in over your head.
Do you have enough money in savings to cover the project without completely draining your emergency fund? If you are looking at extensive renovations, you probably will need to consider a loan. Before taking on a loan, look at all of your monthly expenses. Will you have enough money left over each month to comfortably cover the loan payments? Familiarize yourself with the different types of loans available; personal loans, home equity loans, HELOCs, etc.
If you don’t have enough money saved and can’t afford loan payments, put together a plan to start saving and revisit the project in a year or two. Alternatively, ask your contractors to recommend changes that will bring down the price tag.
#4: Be Open About Your Renovation Budget
In a perfect world, your builders would give you everything you dream of and keep it all within your budget. Unfortunately, our tastes don’t always match our wallets. If you are honest from the get-go about how much you can spend, your contractor can give you realistic and budget-friendly guidance when changes need to be made. A good contractor will help you make cuts in the areas where you can live with them so that you can keep the important things. An open line of communication from the start will ensure no surprises down the road for either party.
#5: Prepare for Unexpected Costs To Avoid Overspending on Renovations
It is rare to complete a renovation project without any unexpected costs, even with a small job. To be on the safe side, plan for hidden expenses by budgeting an extra 10-20% of the total estimated cost. This way you will go into the project with some wiggle room and you won’t be scrambling for extra cash if an unforeseen problem does come up.
Updating your house doesn’t have to be a gamble. Patience, research and thoughtful planning throughout your home renovation process will ensure that you get the end results you want while staying within your budget. If you’re interested in finding out which remodeling projects increase your home value make sure to read our latest blog: 7 Home Remodeling Tips to Increase Your Home Value.